Adventurous April 2018

The Cashmere is Mine

I’ve had to fend off attacks from various cats to maintain a claim to my blue cashmere mitts.

kitty with knitting

But, they are mine.  All mine.  I love them, and I love knitting with this fine Mongolian Cashmere.  It’s über soft, even for cashmere.  Although I am bad to get a case of second sock (or in this case, second mitt) syndrome, I cast on for the second one as soon as I finished – minus the thumb – the first one.

Second mitt in progress

I’m hoping to finish them up today.  They’re just right for some late winter hiking over the weekend if the weather cooperates, and the cats keep their distance.

another kitty with the blue mitts

[Mitts knit with one skein of Elliebelly Coventry Cashmere in “Lady Mary.”  Available here.]

Adventurous April 2018

Elliebelly’s Adventurous April KAL 2015 Begins

The Knit Along isn't actually beginning just yet, but I'm winding my yarn and gathering my notions so I will be all ready on April 1.  Looking for a KAL to join?  Our pattern, Antarktis, is a one skein project that is beginner appropriate and we are lots of fun to knit with!  You can use any yarn you want, and, if knitting a scarf/shawl isn't your thing, we also have a stuffed animal and a "learn a new technique" category.  Sign up for the Elliebelly group on Ravelry here, introduce yourself in the threads and feel free to join in with us!

Mcnladymary

I've selected my yarn after lots of back and forth.  It's Elliebelly's MCN (merino/cashmere/nylon) High Twist in a fingering weight.  It's a pale robin's egg blue called Lady Mary (if you watch Downton Abbey, you'll remember the dress that inspired the colorway!)

Seasilk

My runner up choice is this Elliebelly Seasilk  in Jabot.  I went with the Cashmerino blend because the Seasilk doesn't grow as much when blocked, and pattern designer Janina Kallio stresses the importance of selecting a yarn that will block well.

I'm all set.  I've got my new Darn Pretty Needles all ready to go, along with my yarn in a pretty linen bag from Churchmouse.  See you on Wednesday for the start of knitting nirvana as we all cast on.

 

 

Adventurous April 2018

Counting Down To Knit Along

We've only got ten days left before the Adventurous April KAL starts.  Please come sign up to knit with us if you haven't already.  Everyone is welcome. We will be knitting Antarktis and stuffed toys, and trying out new techniques.

We have two last yarn giveaway winners, Susie and Sparkynfeisty.  I've messaged you both on Ravelry. As soon as we can discuss colors, there will be yarn on the way to you!

Harry

After a few hours in my office, I'm clearly going to have to finish my Tipperary Shawl.  Harry is not understanding about it still being on the needles and wants me to finish it so he can claim it for himself. It's divine.  It is knit from a cashmere, alpaca, and merino blend.  He's going to have to fight me for it.

Unfortunately, my money is on the cat.

Adventurous April 2018

Knitalongs: Give Aways & Progress

It is, perhaps, a bit confusing to be participating in one knitalong while planning another.  Confusing, but fun.  So, first things first.  The Sunday night yarn give away winner for the Adventurous April KAL on the Elliebelly Ravelry Group is Jamlknitter.  Lisa, message me on Ravelry and I'll get your yarn on the way to you in time for cast on!

If you aren't Lisa, don't worry.  There is still time to enter and win some Elliebelly yarn before the KAL starts on April 1, by leaving a comment to this post, before next Friday.

Yarnbath

In the meantime, any guesses about what color my yarn, in the dye bath above, is going to be?  This photo is a little bit reminiscent of the dress that took the internet by storm a couple of weeks ago.  What color do you all see?

Eyes

And, for the Malabrigo March KAL, my Monkey's eyes arrived today.  I've got three different options to choose from.  I'm almost done with the first leg, so perhaps we will be to the point where we can have an eye test soon.  The pattern calls for you to do the monkey's muzzle last — right now his face is just the big round blob you all saw last week.  But I'm glad to have the eyes ready.  I'm hoping to finish Monkey up next weekend.

 

Adventurous April 2018

Adventurous April KAL & Yarn Giveaway

As may of you know, in April, we have a knitalong on the Elliebelly Ravelry Group.  Adventurous April is a chance to knit with old friends, make new ones, and end up with a fantastic finished knitted object, because with the support of this group, you can get all the help you need with your knitting.

We knit for the fun of it and have very few rules.  Our start date is April 1, but you can and are encouraged to gather your yarn and needles, review your pattern closely, and swatch before then.  You can knit with any yarn you like, and since Elliebelly is no longer sold, there will be a few giveaways to make sure those who would like to try it have that chance (see more below).  We have an Adventurous April Chat thread here if you have any questions about joining, the KAL, the patterns, or, if you just want to introduce yourself.

image from images4-d.ravelrycache.com

This year, the KAL has three categories.  First, there will be a group knitting Antarktis, Janina Kallio's clever one-skein shawl pattern, which works in any weight from fingering up to a light worsted (I'm thinking about you, Plucky Primo Worsted).  The sign up thread is here.

Next up is the stuffed animal/monster thread. We started out talking about my March Monkey, everyone shared their favorite toy pattern, and in the anarchy that always characterizes our KAL, we've decided to have a "knit the stuffed toy of your choice" group.  The sign up thread is here and it includes lots of ideas.  I'm thinking about the Wild Thing, but am equally tempted by C is for Cat.

Our last KAL sign up option is for people who want to try a new technique, but with a friendly, supportive group around them.  I have always sworn I would never attempt steeks, but with Adventurous April, you never know. Any technique of your choice is the order of business here — a new cast on, first attempts at lace, beading, magic loop — challenge yourself and have an adventure.  Sign ups are here.

image from images4.ravelrycache.com

To get you started with KAL yarn, we've got a little giveaway.  First up is yarn for Antarktis.  Sign up for the KAL, and then come post here in the replies.  We'll have one drawing Sunday night and then two more on Friday the 20th.  Winners will get their choice from among the new colorways I've been experimenting with — I can't wait to see some of them knit up! (And yes, the deep blue colorway, which is a new one, Homemade Dress, is dyed on the return of Elliebelly's Angel sock yarn if you're after some luxury.)  In addition to those pictured above, there is a glazed gray colorway called Crake, and an edgy gold called Oryx.  If you need a little encouragement to take the plunge and sign up, I hope this will do it.

Graygold

In addition to this giveaway, there will be at least one more with yarn for the stuffed animal category. Come along and adventure knit with us!

 

Adventurous April 2018

Yarn. Dyeing. Adventurous April.

It has been a while since I've shared yarn dyeing in progress with y'all.  That's because I haven't had any time to dye lately.  But, over the long holiday weekend I did a little work that I can't wait to share with you.

Blues

This is a new, still unnamed, blue.  It's a dusky cousin of one of my favorite colorways, Betsy Blue.  Blues are hard to photograph and this one isn't quite as teal as it appears on my monitor.  It's lovely in person and I can't wait to knit with it (and name it!)

Basics

These two colors are not new.  They are long-time Elliebelly base colors that I often mix to use in variegated colorways.  (The golden yellow is one of the colors that makes Marble Angel one of my favorites — I was tickled when I googled for a quick picture and found this 2008 post on the old Diaperswapers forum with photos of it, along with Katie, the colorway that first forced me to think about gray in a serious way and led to the color on the left.)  I thought it would be fun to see them on their own for a change. The gray on the left is actually a two-bath colorway, first dyed a pale gray and then over-dyed the deeper gray.  When I use this color in a mix, I dye it all at once.  I'm really pleased with the glazed approach I used here.

The mustard color — the color of mustard blooms in the garden, not the stuff you slap on a hotdog, is one of my favorite base yellows to dye with.  It has just enough brown to build a hint of character.  I like this color on its own as well, but I'm sure I'll be unable to resist overdyeing and glazing some of the skeins from this batch.  This is one of those colors with so much potential to play with!

I've been making time to dye because, although it's only mid-February, I'm thinking ahead to April and the Adventurous April Knitalong on the Elliebelly Ravelry Group. If you joined us last year, you know it's going to be lots of fun.  And, although you can't buy Elliebelly yarn, in the lead up to the KAL, my co-hostess Shelley and I will come up with fun and clever contests so you can win some in time to swatch and be ready come April 1.

Since the group has settled on at least one pattern for the KAL, Antarktis, I've made a headstart on dyeing some yarns that will work for that pattern.  Like always for our KALs, you'll be welcome to join in with any yarn you want to knit with, Elliebelly or not.  If you haven't joined is in the past or aren't a group member, you're welcome to come join and make some new friends while we start organizing for this year's KAL.  It's going to be a lot of fun!

Adventurous April 2018

Dyeing For Spring

I'm going to need a hat to wear on my travels this spring.  I want something lighter weight than the hats I have managed to keep out of my children's greedy little hands and also a springy green color.  Since I didn't seem to have anything the fit the bill in stash, I dyed this.

Yellow green kraemer maria silk merino

It's a new-to-me yarn, Kraemer's Maria, a 50% silk/50% merino blend with 225 yards in 100 grams.  The yardage and the look are both about right for me to call it a worsted weight yarn. For patterns, I'm still deciding between a Plum Tree Slouch

image from images4-b.ravelrycache.com

(c) NNK Press (with permission)

and an Irving hat.

image from images4-d.ravelrycache.com

(c) Melissa LaBarre (with permission)

They are both tempting choices and I feel sure I'll end up knitting both of them.  The yarn itself seems to almost completely lack a Ravelry presence, so I'm knitting blind here.  But I tend to like Kraemer's yarns and this one dyed up beautifully, so I have high hopes.

A note about the dyeing process.  I like to apply color to yarn in layers, rather than all at once, to get more organic color variation in yarns that aren't going to be level-dyed a solid color.  This yarn was originally dyed a pale yellow and then overdyed with a blue that was a dilute almost-navy solution, before being glazed in a yellow-brown.  Although I'm often asked is glazing is worth all the work, there is no doubt in my mind that the same principles I used to use in painting collage backgrounds are equally at work in dyeing yarn, and there is simply no substitute for carefully applied layers of dye, each of which makes the final color full and rich.